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FARM WEEKLY | Former Nuffield Scholar tells why he is supporting besieged Ukrainian farmers

BEING optimistic, wheat production in the war-affected Ukraine this year will be 50-60 per cent of what it normally averages.

Most of the land reserved for wheat production was seeded before winter, however of this land almost 20-30pc is in occupied areas or in formerly occupied areas.

In the occupied areas, Russia is deliberately obstructing farmers from working their land and by bombing machine storage areas.

In the liberated areas there are still thousands of landmines in and around the fields.

Sitting in a tractor cab in Australia, it's unfathomable to think what farmers in Ukraine are going through as they try to make a living.

That's what inspired David Fulwood, who farms at Cunderdin with his wife Jo, to get behind the Aussie Grain 4 Ukraine appeal.

Mr Fulwood had previously been to Ukraine on several occasions through his association with the Nuffield Scholarship program and has friends there who have been keeping him up-to-date with what the situation is like on the ground.

Those small villages which have been decimated or taken over, can't continue with their normal food production and it's those farmers which Mr Fulwood hopes to support through money raised as part of Aussie Grain4Ukraine.

"Their winters are brutal and people live off what they have grown during the summer and spring, so it really worries me they won't have what they need," Mr Fulwood said.

"We don't want the money to go straight into the cities and disappear, so it's important to us it has an impact on the ground and we want to make sure those people from small villages have enough money to get through the winter.

"We've got a period from now until harvest starts to work out exactly what we're going to do with the money and how to use it best, then as the crop starts to come in we'll know how much we'll have to give."

Mr Fulwood said Ukrainian farmers were dealing with more than anyone in Australia could possibly comprehend.

"They may be direct competitors of ours but that's irrelevant - they need help, they're going to need help for a long time and the fact of the matter is Australia can't produce enough to feed everyone," he said.

That's where the Aussie Grain4Ukraine appeal comes in - when harvest rolls around, graingrowers can donate grain via a dedicated Grower Delivery Card, in the National Grower Register (NGR) system.

"It's a humanitarian approach - we're not interested in getting involved with the politics of the invasion, we just want to make sure people are okay from a welfare point of view," Mr Fulwood said.

"The grain price is higher at the moment in part because farmers in Ukraine are suffering, so we're asking our farmers to keep that in mind when they're delivering their grain this harvest."


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